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The Brief

Having worked with Latitude on several small accessories, we collaborated again on their flagship product – The Pioneer Roof Tent – with the aim to return its manufacturing to the UK. We were tasked with creating a full technical CAD model and drawing pack for the Pioneer Roof Tent as well as examining the design and analysing aspects that could be improved or optimised. The end goal was to provide Latitude with several manufacturing options and the data needed to produce the Pioneer tent in the UK.

Utilising the extensive skill set at Step2 Design, we reverse-engineered the Pioneer Tent, dismantling and analysing each part with a mindset of how we could optimise its design. These were then translated into 3D CAD models and assembled into a fully parametric model which could be easily manipulated. Additionally, detailed technical drawings were created, and a list of suppliers was provided to help Latitude achieve their ultimate goal of bringing manufacturing back to the UK.

Project Inception

As with most of our projects, we began the process with a visit to the client to get an accurate understanding of the project and assess the key criteria and requirements. An in-person visit allowed us to discuss ideas quickly and thoroughly to establish a strong direction for which the project would head in. In the days that followed, we carefully and efficiently dismantled the pioneer tent ensuring we did so in a non-destructive manner allowing for further testing and re-assembly after the process was complete. The dismantling process enabled us to form a clear picture of the assembly process – a key detail that was needed during the manufacturing process! This methodical approach allowed us to create instructions on how the tent should be assembled, a feature which the client was able to easily decipher and interrogate.

CAD Development

Following on from this, we created 3D CAD models of all the parts and assemblies using SolidWorks. Each part was modelled and inserted into a parametric model allowing us to dynamically test the movement of the tent and perform basic kinetic analysis highlighting where improvements and adjustments could be made. This was a fantastic opportunity to get the team at Latitude involved to experience and appreciate the detail in their design, while creating an opportunity to receive their input on any potential design changes. At Step2 Design we pride ourselves on our knowledge, capability and efficiency of 3D CAD systems; this enabled us to generate a complete working model ahead of schedule allowing more time for further analysis and improvements.

CAD Drawings

For the next stage, we shared our findings with the client through a series of design review meetings. We then focused on which changes the client wanted to implement and outlined a suitable timeline and delivery schedule. Once this had been established, the model was updated and a full technical drawing pack was completed.

The comprehensive drawing pack we provided enabled Latitude to acquire accurate quotes as well as data that allowed for the successful manufacture of their Pioneer Tent. The drawing pack also included information that was clear for manufacturers whilst accounting for details such as tolerances, assembly procedures and manufacturing constraints.

Manufacturing Support

Introducing Latitude to a range of suitable suppliers enabled them to expand their manufacturing network. Furthermore, advice such as bringing the assembly in-house and suggestions to reuse part of their existing supply chain were made in an effort to enhance cost savings.

Through clear communication and regular support, we were able to provide Latitude with the relevant knowledge to make informed decisions on the manufacturing route of their Pioneer Tent and we continue to support the company to this day offering technical support to their ever expanding product range. 

Project Challenges


One of the main challenges with this project was the optimisation of the design whilst recognising what improvements could be made as the Pioneer Tent was already in production and selling successfully. Due to this, it was vital to find the balance between making necessary design changes whilst not disrupting the current design and manufacturing process by utilising existing design geometry to ensure a smooth and simple assembly process.

We established a clear and constant line of communication with the client to ensure they were on board with all the adaptations we had planned and could inform the client of the pros and cons of each design decision and the effect on the overall cost and time constraints of the project.

Being a large product, the testing and prototyping phases were challenging and required some out-of-the-box thinking to cost-effectively test any potential design improvements. We were able to utilise simple simulation data to understand mechanical thresholds as well as the effects of weight and size to give us a basic understanding of the changes involved. We worked with the client to put together an action plan and testing schedule to help guide and instruct on the procedures we would take to ensure all aspects were tested correctly. 

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    Step2 Design Limited HERE
    470 Bath Road
    Arnos Vale
    Bristol BS4 3AP